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New Avios redemptions …. Finnair adds flights to Busan whilst Iberia adds Cairo

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Finnair announced yesterday that it is launching a new route to Busan in South Korea next year.

This will be the first direct flight to Busan from anywhere in Europe.  As Finnair is a British Airways partner in the oneworld alliance, you will be able to earn and spend Avios on this route, and earn British Airways Executive Club tier points.

The first flight will depart on 30th March.  Amazingly, this will be Finnair’s 20th Asian destination, capitalising on the fact that Helsinki is ‘on the way’ to Asia from many places in Europe and so a convenient place to connect.

There will be three services per week, using a brand new A350.  Connections will be available via Finnair’s existing UK routes from London, Edinburgh and Manchester.

My review of the impressive Finnair A350 is here.

Marriott Mena House hotel Cairo

…. and Iberia is launching Cairo

Iberia announced a new route to Cairo yesterday.  Flights from Madrid will start on 2nd March and operate four days per week.

It will be an almost five hour flight on a shorthaul A319 aircraft, so it isn’t a hugely attractive alternative to the British Airways direct flight which uses a long haul Boeing 787 aircraft.  There isn’t much arbitrage when looking at an Avios redemption either.

However, if you want to go to Cairo on Avios and there is no British Airways availability showing, you do now have a new option.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (163)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Anna says:

    OT – re the possibility of pilot strikes next month. I was browsing the FT compo thread and this is the case which upheld the view the strikes do not amount to extraordinary circumstances –
    Helga Krüsemann and Others v TUIfly GmbH, case C-195/17
    Moreover, this was a “wildcat” strike and not one notified in advance as in the case of the BA pilots – it was ruled that only 3rd party strikes are now classed as extraordinary.

    • Shoestring says:

      I still don’t buy this logic where BALPA/ pilots are concerned, if there is in effect a general strike of a high % of BA pilots. (There’s no precedent set from the case cited, though it is of course of interest.)

      Underlying the extraordinary circs argument in EC261 is the concept: [an air carrier is to be released from its obligation to pay passengers compensation under Article 7 of Regulation No 261/2004 if the carrier can prove that the cancellation or delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.]

      I just don’t see how more pilots could be found for more than a few flights, even if BA have (say) 2 weeks to plan for the strike.

      I definitely don’t agree (and I don’t reckon the UK interpretation of EC261 will, either) that in all cases, in-house strike never equals extraordinary circumstances. Ie BALPA/ pilots strike is a very different situation to cabin crew strike.

      • Shoestring says:

        You could ask yourself: does a widely observed BALPA strike over pay sound similar to this situation?:

        [Article 5(3) of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91, read in the light of recital 14 thereof, must be interpreted as meaning that the spontaneous absence of a significant part of the flight crew staff (‘wildcat strikes’), such as that at issue in the disputes in the main proceedings, which stems from the surprise announcement by an operating air carrier of a restructuring of the undertaking, following a call echoed not by the staff representatives of the company but spontaneously by the workers themselves who placed themselves on sick leave, is not covered by the concept of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ within the meaning of that provision.]

        • Anna says:

          The ruling was quite clear that “extraordinary circumstances” only applies to 3rd party strikes (e.g. I suppose, ATC). It didn’t differentiate between types of in-house employees. But, proof of the pudding and all that…

          • Lady London says:

            I think a new ruling would be distinguished from the case you mention – and thank you very much for finding and sharing it Anna – and not give compo due to the factors mentioned by Shoestring. Duty of care looks like it will apply but not compo.

            One could argue that an irreplaceable pilot is no more irreplaceable than a needed aircraft part (which is 100% the airline’s fault and gives compo under EU261). But I think enough of the judiciary may view that a strike by a union the great majority of pilots belong to is not necessarily the fault of the airline.

            We don’t want to see EU261 become too unfair to airlines otherwise it will be repealed or diluted out of existence.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Presumably the argument is that the Airline should maintain decent relationships with its workforce. If this relationship falls down to the extent that strike action takes place then the Airline must be at least partially responsible for this. This would differentiate from a third party strike.

        Not saying its right but there is at least some logic behind that argument…

        • Shoestring says:

          I’d like it to be true, ie that in-house strike always = NOT extraordinary circumstances.

          Jury still out on that. The cases are heading that way, to be sure.

          • Anna says:

            Thank goodness it won’t actually be a jury which decides though…!

  • illuminatus says:

    OT – what’s the best approach to getting delayed flight compensation from BA? I have generally been very lucky with my flights over the recent years (~50 min delays max and rare), but last Thursday my wife’s flight to Tenerife was delayed for 4+ hours. All BA has bothered to do is send some rubbish email not so much apologising but rather explaining how they cared about our safety etc.

    Should we email BA first for some friendly settlement? Or follow the EU guidelines straight away?

    • Anna says:

      What was the reason for the delay?

    • AJA says:

      I can see from Flightradar that the BA2664 from LGW to TFS on 4 July 2019 departed at 19:06 instead of 14:05 and arrived at TFS at 22:53 instead of 18:40. Is that the flight? If so you should definitely contact BA and claim under EU261/2004. The following is a guide for when your flight is delayed or cancelled:

      You can complete an online claim on the BA website here:

      It is very straightforward. I used it to claim for a delayed flight from Seville on the day of the EU referendum in 2016. We were delayed by over 5 hours. The claim was acknowledged by BA and paid out in less than two weeks, received over £800 as they also compensated our taxi which cost over £100 at 3am.

      I also helped a neighbour do the same for a delayed flight from Athens a year ago, he received a similar amount within 2 weeks of me completing the form.

      • illuminatus says:

        Yes, that’s the flight, thank you for a detailed reply.

  • robman says:

    If I upgrade a cash economy ticket to business class using Avios – do I earn the tier points of business class? Thanks for your help.

    • Rob says:

      No. Used to happen occasionally by accident but BA seems to have sorted it.

    • BJ says:

      Unlikely you would buy an economy ticket that can be upgraded to CW, not sure that’s even possible if the route has WTP.

      @Rob, thanks for update on the CW avios, I was unaware it had been fixed.

      • TokyoFan says:

        We got J tier points and avios in March when we upgraded WT+ to CW JFK-LGW

  • James says:

    Still don’t have that spend x get y offer. So obviously not all cardholders still (platinum).

  • Navara says:

    Good news! You can now collect 10 Avios per £1 spent when you buy tickets and refreshments at ODEON cinemas across the UK and Ireland (excludes online bookings).

    It’s so simple to collect Avios at ODEON – just register your credit or debit card(s) once and you’ll automatically get Avios added to your AerClub account every time you spend on your registered card. And it’s not just at ODEON

  • Harry T says:

    BA are sending out an email advertising:
    “As a member of the British Airways Executive Club, you will collect 30,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership. That’s enough for a Club Europe return flight to Rome or Barcelona. Just be sure to apply via the link in this email before 28 July 2019.”

    So that’s an increase of 5k Avios over the usual sign up bonus, presuming you’re not referred.

    I want to get the BAPP in the next couple of months. I could refer myself from the Platinum for the usual bonus, but this BA offer is only via an email link.

    It’s 30,000 guaranteed bonus Avios if I hit the spend Vs 26k guaranteed Avios + possibly 12k Membership Rewards if I self refer for a BAPP.


  • Graham Walsh says:

    Think it was mentioned the other day. I called virgin to cancel my rewards + card as cant use up the vouchers etc. Was told I can’t until I clear the balance. She said she could put a termination on the account but couldn’t confirm if the annual payment would be charged or not. I had to clear the balance. So I paid online via debit card to clear it. Not sure how you can terminate a card and yet they might charge you. Not good in my view.

    • Louise says:

      That was me, I have cleared my balance but left the £160 fee that they put on a month early.
      I am going to ring up again tomorrow to cancel and argue they shouldn’t have charged the 160 a month early anyway, plus why should I pay it and then wait for a refund!

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Totally agree with you Louise.

      • Doug M says:

        I was charged the £160 in the month before the month of the charge last year too, month early as I saw it. I cancelled, was cancelling anyway. Agent couldn’t clear the charge but said it would be done and I’d get the confirmation email when it had been processed. Couple of days later the email confirming cancellation arrived. Virgin card is great the first year, so so after that. That voucher just doesn’t do it.

    • Nick_C says:

      It’s better to pay Virgin MC by faster payment. Goes through in a couple of hours. Debit card payments can take a couple of days.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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